Tag Archives: Seattle

Seattle’s Savior, Paul Allen

paulallenThere are many of us who still remember the lead news story on one fateful evening in February of 1996. As families turned on television sets across the region, we were informed that a caravan of moving trucks bound for Southern California had hit the road that day, packed to the gills with two decades’ worth of Seattle Seahawks history. Unceremoniously, our football team and all its belongings were gone, destined to become the Los Angeles Seahawks of Anaheim.

Owner Ken Behring, a festering pimple of a human being, was to blame for the heist. A real estate developer by way of the Bay Area, Behring had acquired ownership of the Seahawks in 1988 and proceeded to spend eight miserable years running the ballclub through the turf, beneath the concrete, and well below the surface of the ground.

While Behring, the real-life personification of a bumbling Scooby-Doo villain, acted quickly in shuttling the team out of town, the NFL and King County reacted with even speedier precision to halt the vans and return them to the Pacific Northwest. The shoddy relocation attempt was thwarted, and a humiliated Behring was forced to sell.

Almost immediately, a white knight emerged. He had built his fortune in the software industry, but his passion lay in sports, music, and later, philanthropy. He already controlled one major sports franchise – the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers – but had the bank account to afford another. Unlike his basketball team, this organization would be rooted in his hometown, rather than 173 miles south. With the stroke of a pen and a boatload of cash, Paul Allen committed to buying – and saving – the Seattle Seahawks.

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The Greatest Moment of All

rwsbThe man who jubilantly bounded along First Avenue without pants on probably summed it up best. With arms raised skyward, he hopped up and down, shuffling parallel to the southern flow of traffic as a cry of unbridled excitement sounded from his gullet. A cameraman with lens trained upon Q13 Fox News field reporter John Hopperstad, the unwitting accomplice in all this, remained frozen to a spot for fractions of a moment as the pants-less man, twig and berries in full view, coincided with the focal point of the shot. In an instant, technology recorded the half-naked hoopla in all its ballsy glory. And as millions of people the world around became privy to the triumph of the man’s favorite football team, the video of the happy, bottomless Seahawks fan gained rapid exposure.

Sure, anyone could make jokes about the guy – he wasn’t wearing anything from the waist down, after all. But adorned from the belly up in the wolf grey replica jersey of the team’s quarterback, the message was clear: Seattle was in full celebration mode. What better way to celebrate than by removing one’s clothes?

This is what we’ve waited for since birth. For many of us, the entirety of our respective existences has been spent anticipating a championship. As a collective whole, we’ve been trophy-starved in the Emerald City since 1979, when our dear departed (soon-to-return) SuperSonics took home Seattle’s first and only major professional sports title. Those who actually remember that star-crossed basketball season are now 40 years of age or older. Those who haven’t quite ripened to that level of maturity have never experienced the thrill of winning it all. Together, we’ve yearned for an event that was beyond slow to arrive.

We’ve been dubbed the Worst Sports City in America on multiple occasions, most recently within the past year. We’ve ho-hummed our way through countless losing campaigns, shrugged our shoulders repeatedly through playoff time, and rallied more passionately for a franchise that was stolen from us than for some that still exist. We’ve been characterized by misery and become synonymous with defeat. The trademark rain that falls upon our shoulders as we sullenly languish under murky skies has served as a metaphor for scribes who detail our athletic failures. To date, it seems, the only thing we’ve been good at is losing.

We’ve been discordant and irritable and more likely to pick fights with one another than to gather together in serendipitous solidarity. We’ve spent more time divided than united, embarrassed than emboldened, incensed than inspired. We’ve been angry and bitter, morose and beat down, hurt and disappointed. We’ve been the laughingstock, the butt of the joke, the doormat upon which outsiders wiped their feet. No one’s had it worse, they’ve argued. And we’ve agreed. A lifetime of shortcomings has brought us to a certain Zen state of understanding when it comes to our place in this world.

We have never been the winners. Until now. Until February 2nd, 2014, Super Bowl Sunday. We were champions once, thirty-five years in our distant past, and after a multi-generational drought, we are champions again. We are that team. With those players. With that trophy. We are those fans, the ones who get to hold a parade, who get to witness the unveiling of a meaningful stadium banner, who will get peppered with TV ads for commemorative t-shirts and hats and DVDs and knick-knacks and whooziewhats. Us. It’s us. We are the winners.

There are plays that will define our conquest. There are names that will forever be burned upon the tips of our tongues, historic in their significance to our victory. There are coaches and players and sounds and images and so many memories to be sorted like phone numbers in the Rolodexes of our minds. We will quantify the importance of each isolated second of our journey to relevance and qualify the legacies of those who lived that odyssey with us, who gave us reason to rejoice. All of that will be done in time. But for now, we reside in uncharted territory. For right now, we live in a haze of elation that we don’t quite know how to navigate.

This isn’t just about a football team. It’s not about the trophy that will be inscribed with the name of our city or the accolades that will come with being designated as victors. This is about a group of people who have thirsted for this moment forever and ever and ever. It’s about an entire region that has come together to be a part of the magic that surrounds winning. It’s about the smiles and the fist pumps you’ll get from strangers you pass at the grocery store, the reminiscent conversations you’ll have with people you otherwise never would have talked to, the laughter you’ll share with friends and loved ones when you think back to that time we did it, we really did it, we won our long-awaited championship.

This is what it feels like. Forgive us for removing our pants, but we needed this so bad and now we’re enjoying it with all our junk hanging out because, frankly, we just don’t know what else to do. We aren’t used to celebrating, so we’ll celebrate the only way we know how, which means some of us might be naked and some of us might be clothed. But I promise you, we will enjoy this like nothing else, absolutely nothing else, because this is that very moment we’ve been waiting for.

The Seahawks are Super Bowl champions. For the City of Seattle, best city on earth, and the entire Pacific Northwest, beautiful place we call home, this is our time. Enjoy it. Enjoy every minute of it.

Go Hawks.

What to Do on Your Visit to Seattle: A Trip Guide for 49ers Fans

Fife_WAAre you a 49ers fan making the trip to Seattle for this Sunday’s NFC Championship game? Do you know a 49ers fan coming to town to attend the game? Are you this lady, who would prefer to hang out with 49ers fans because the Seahawks faithful are “alcohol-fueled bullies”?

Whatever your situation, if you plan to support that other football team from San Francisco this week, we’d like to welcome you to the Emerald City with this comprehensive guide of things to do, places to stay, and restaurants at which to eat during your time with us. You can’t say we aren’t a classy bunch up here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Where to stay on your trip

Let’s start with lodging. You bought playoff tickets on a whim from a third-party reseller, dropping more than a thousand dollars of hard-earned cash that could have paid to send your kid to college bail your kid out of jail, and now you’ve only begun to piece the rest of your mini-vacation together. Not to worry, friend, we’ve done the legwork for you. When you visit Seattle, here are three of the best local inns for you to call your temporary home.

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I Don’t Get You, Blue Jays Fans

Jays_Fans_gew6ix3d_yob827dcBlue Jays fans. What the hell, man. I don’t get you. You make very little sense to me. First of all, your team is in Toronto. And yet you all show up in droves every time this team of yours plays in Seattle. Seattle! Do you know how far it is between Seattle and Toronto?! I do. It’s 2,068 miles, according to the internet. That’s roughly the same distance between Seattle and New Orleans. New Orleans! LOUISIANA!!

Look, I get it. Many of you make the trip south from Vancouver, B.C. to cheer on your favorite team. But shit, Vancouver is no closer to Toronto than Seattle. In fact, it’s farther. As the crow flies, 2,089 miles separate the two cities. Yes, that’s even greater than the distance between Seattle and Toronto. It makes no sense. It’s like if Seattleites became unabashed supporters of the New Orleans Saints, the Pelicans, or…what other teams do they have…the Zephyrs! We would never do that. Because it’s crazy. And not fun crazy, either. Alex Rodriguez crazy.

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The Seahawks’ Simmering Fan Base

vmacThere is no better place to be right now, it seems, than the building that sits about a par five away from my home. I’ve done the math. It’s roughly 600 yards between the pillow I rest my head on each night and the entrance to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, better known as the VMAC, best known as the Seahawks Practice Facility.

Today marks the opening day of Seahawks training camp, and with all the hubbub and fanfare that surrounds the beginning of any NFL season, excitement is radiating from my neighbor’s turf-covered backyard. When one factors in the expectations that now follow this team around – most prognosticators have the Hawks pegged as a Super Bowl favorite – the fervor evolves from palpable to totally understandable. And thus we have a midsummer block party taking place in and around Interstate 405’s Exit 7.

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Caption Contest: The Sonicsfication of Peter Steinbrueck

McGinn vs Steinbrueck Jump ball

An anonymous tipster (okay, this wasn’t really a tip, but I just like saying “tipster”) sent the image you see above of a surprisingly-chiseled Mike McGinn contending with our new favorite enemy, Peter Steinbrueck, for the metaphorical future of the City of Seattle. (The metaphorical interpretation is mine; maybe they’re just playing basketball, who really knows.)

Anyway, the image was apparently created by someone who goes by the name “Sensei 23” and the general school of thought here was that we could have a good ol’ caption contest with this beautiful piece of art, because who doesn’t love a caption contest?

But wait, there’s more. Our tipster informed me that the best caption(s) will be printed up onto posters and distributed en masse at next week’s Capitol Hill Block Party — your goofy wit may actually make you famous/get you laid/result in thousands of people wanting to meet you! Or more likely just be good for a few laughs. But still, laughter is wonderful!

The best place to submit captions is right here in the comments section of the site. If you’re absolutely opposed to commenting on blog posts, you can also submit captions via Twitter (@alexSSN) or even on Facebook to Seattle Sportsnet, but I’d recommend sticking the captions you truly care about in the comments section here so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

In addition to the captions themselves, there’s a groundswell of movement around our original hashtag on Twitter, #SteinbrueckFacts, as well as a new hashtag, #BeatPeter. Personally, I really like the idea of the #BeatPeter hashtag because of the sexual innuendo involved, but maybe that’s just me (I’m 12, you know). So be sure to use both hashtags when discussing the upcoming battle for Seattle’s mayorship and keep the social media momentum going.

I believe in you, Sonics fans. I believe in your cleverness, your wit, your wordsmithing, all of that goodness. Do us proud.

 

Keeping the Faith

sonicsI hate losing. I once sat in a 1991 Toyota Previa in the Factoria Square parking lot and bawled for an hour because I had pitched poorly in a Little League game and had cost my team a victory. My family went inside to eat dinner and I stayed in the van, refusing to eat, refusing to move. I don’t do well with defeat. I never have. Even now, there is little that can be done to assuage me when my team so much as drops a rec basketball game. I will either a) sit in grim silence for an entire car ride home, or b) verbally break down every single thing that went wrong on our failed quest for triumph. My friends deserve a lot of credit for dealing with that version of me that, to this day, struggles to cope with losing.

I guess in many ways it’s ironic that I am a Seattle sports fans — I don’t know how to lose, and seemingly all my teams do is just that. My whole life, I’ve encountered failure from these entities I hold so dear to me, and yet I’ve never learned how to accept the bitter taste of defeat. I sat through an entire childhood of Seahawks futility, labored through thousands (literally, thousands) of Mariner losses, had seats in the upper level for every home game of the only 0-12 season in University of Washington football history, then paid witness to the ultimate heartbreak when the Sonics were taken from us and moved to Oklahoma City.

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